by Irene Shafer
Disclaimer: um, the usual. . . "Roswell" ain’t mine, you know who it belongs to. . .|
Summary: The title kind of says it all. Set within the time frame of "Sexual Healing", not long after Max’s appearance in the girls’ locker room. . .
Authors Note: Writing this story was a struggle between staying true to the things I wanted to say and not wanting to disrespect the actors by depicting them doing things they might feel comfortable with. I think I pulled it off, but you be the judge. It was, I tell no lie . . .um, a pleasure to write, to say the very least. . . [blush]
| It's been so long since we took the time,|
No-one's to blame,
I know time flies so quickly,
But when I see you darling,
It's like we both are falling in love again,
It'll be just like starting over - starting over
(Just Like) Starting Over, Double Fantasy, John Lennon, 1980
"I’m Liz Parker and lately I’ve been having these feelings. . ."
* * * * *
Seated at the desk in her bedroom, Liz tried vainly to study. She’d been staring at the same page in the same textbook for nearly an hour now without seeing it. Frustrated, she closed the book and flopped onto her bed.
There was so much going on in her life, in her head, right now: the deep, strange changes that were taking place inside of her, changes that threatened her resolve, that threatened her control; Max’s renewed interest in her (had he forgotten that he’d forgotten all that went on on Valentines’ Day, or had he never really forgotten in the first place?); the very nature of her relationship with Max, (when they were together now, it was like they were different people. Adults. . .); and lastly, not leastly, those odd, disturbing, beautiful visions of the Universe. What did it all mean?
And then there was that hickey, glowing on her neck like an >ON’ button. . .
Looming foremost in her mind though, was today’s revelation:
Just hours earlier, Max had surprised her in the girls’ locker room, tried in his gentlemanly way to convince her he’d come there -- a total no-boy’s allowed zone -- just to see her, but had eventually let on that his real mission was to check out the place to see if it was familiar to him. And it was.
Because he’d seen her fantasy.
She couldn’t decide if she was mortified, embarrassed beyond belief, or . . .
He’d seen her fantasy.
He’d seen her fantasy of him and her. And the shower in the girls’ locker room.
Even now she felt herself flushing as all the blood in her body rushed to her face, her head swimming as the room spun just a hair off kilter, while at the same time, her stomach dropped to her feet and a certain part of her, a part heretofore unheard from, spoke up and demanded attention.
Liz had never been anything less than rational in her life. Even her feelings for Max were rational, perhaps even in spite of their chemistry. But it was just that chemistry that had taken control of her brain now. And there really wasn’t anything wrong with fantasizing, was there? Even now that he’d found out.
Because instead of being embarrassed, he’d been the exact opposite. . .
* * * * * *
Max sat on the edge of his bed, knuckles white, trying to shut off his brain and having no luck.
Something weird had been happening between him and Liz lately. The attraction thing had always been there, but, for the good of everyone concerned (and how fair was that B that their attraction should concern so many people?), they’d been dealing with it. By not dealing with it.
Except for these past few days. . . Holy moly, you couldn’t have pried them apart with a crowbar. . .
That hickey. . . He did that to her?
And here was the new wrinkle: every time he touched her it seemed, she saw so deeply into him, she saw things he hadn’t even known were there. . . And what she was seeing was his trip, or his parents’ trip, to earth. Back in 1947.
He didn’t know how much of his suddenly intense attraction to Liz was inspired by the deep, deep feelings he had for her, and how much of it was compelled by that history, locked even deeper inside him, that could quite possibly change his life forever. And Michael’s and Isabel’s. And Liz’s.
He only knew that as sharp and as all-consuming as his need to know was, he could not use Liz solely as a means for its revelation.
And yet. . .
And yet he couldn’t stay away from her. He wanted her.
Six months ago, he would have been happy to just stand beside her and breath the air she breathed . . . And now? And now she had willingly given him so much more than that. Remembering the feeling of her soft lips on his, the way her hands, at his back, urged him on, and too, oh, yes, the sweet, sweet noises she made, deep in her throat, noises that he could feel through his lips when he kissed her neck. . .
Maybe it could all be chalked up to Plain Old Teenage Lust. Maybe it was the Long-Lost Buried Origins secret. Pick your reason. He wasn’t entirely sure it mattered. He had felt so strongly about Liz for so long, but he felt like he could control his own needs and not take advantage of Liz’s. He loved her too much to force her to do anything she didn’t want to do. Of course, there was no forcing here. Her needs had proven themselves as great as his.
He hadn’t taken the time to question it just yet. All right, he’d questioned it some, but he wasn’t really complaining all that much right now. His brain might have been running on some sort of wicked, stepped up cycle, showing little Max and Liz home movies in a constant loop, but logic had pretty much washed its hands of the whole affair. And giving in kind of felt good.
Aw, who was he kidding. No ’kind of’s’ about it. Giving in felt great!
And not just in his, (how did Michael so poetically put it?), not just in his ‘energy source’ either. His heart was so dern pleased it was beating double time. . .
He found it hard to believe he could feel the way he did if he didn’t . . .feel the way he did.
His curiosity was strong, but his love her Liz was stronger, a fact which would no doubt have disappointed the hell out of Michael.
What had amazed him so much today, and two days ago when he and Liz had first. . . reconnected in the kitchen at the Crashdown, was what he’d seen and felt inside her head.
Even now, he couldn’t believe it. Or how it made him feel.
Easing back onto the bed, Max ran the day through his head, silently thanking Michael for talking him into making sure, for pushing him to find out, as far as the mental images were concerned, that he’d gotten from Liz (almost) as much as she’d gotten from him.
It had been hours since he’d snuck into the girls’ locker room in search of answers. And he’d found them all right.
It was real.
OK, it was a fantasy, but it was a real fantasy. . . It was her fantasy. It was her fantasy of him.
The look on Liz’s face, on Liz’s dream face, when she’d turned and seen him, the dream him, standing there in front of her. The look and the . . . the corresponding feelings. Everywhere. . .
She felt that way about him.
Corresponding feelings. . .
Max took a slow, deep breath and tried to get around his growing discomfort. He shifted on the bed, waved away the fleeting paranoia, (Isabel was at Michael’s, Mom and Dad out to dinner), gave his faint self-consciousness a quick and passing nod, then gave up and gave in. . .
* * * * * *
Back in her bedroom, head back on the pillow, eyes closed to the room’s reality of stuffed animals and family photos, Liz found herself once again in the girl’s locker room shower. Her breathing slowed, grew deeper. . .
She was taking her time in the shower, partly because the water felt great on her skin, all warm and clean, partly because the soap felt even better, she’d run it over her chest several times, even after she was certain she was clean, and partly because she was waiting for everyone else to finish up and get on to class. Oh, and she was waiting for Max.
‘I’m Liz Parker and lately I’ve been having these feelings. Like I’m changing. Inside. And part of me doesn’t want to change. Part of me always wants to be my mom’s little girl. But the thing is: these feelings are strong. And dangerous. Undeniable. It’s like I have no choice. It’s like chemical. . .’
Spinning the faucet to ‘off’, still dripping from the shower, Liz got the sudden feeling that she was no longer alone. . .
* * * * * *
The radio was starting to get annoying. Sarah McLachlan worked. Barenaked Ladies, did not. Max waved a hand at the boombox on his desk, dousing the tunes into silence.
When the steam cleared, she saw him and the expression on her sweet face, and the feelings in other places, made her draw breath in quickly. She was surprised he was there, but not at all unhappy about it. Max took a step forward and Liz’s smile grew.
‘Wow. . .’
He’d imagined what she. . . what she looked like before, but the image he got from the direct feed straight from Liz’s mind’s eye was pure heaven. Liz was a modest, rational girl. She didn’t imagine herself as anything more than she was. No need to embellish perfection, he thought. Her sweet little. . .
Liz could tell Max hadn’t realized he’d moved forward into the shower area. He seemed surprised when the still running shower next to Liz’s started to soak his shirt.
‘Your clothes are getting wet, Max,’ she said, reaching with a shaking hand to help him out of them.
‘No need,’ Max breathed, his voice deeper. His eyes never left hers as he touched every article of clothing in turn, transforming each to still more water B the sweatshirt soaked into the T, the T soaked the top of his jeans, the jeans flowed away into his sneakers, which trickled easily down the drain.
She drew breath in quickly, taking in the smooth, golden skin, the strong shoulders, the perfect. . .
* * * * * *
"Oh-oh, God. . ."
She gasped, then sat up with a start, suddenly feeling the fingernails of both hands biting into her palms. Even alone in her room, Liz could feel herself blush.
She could hear Max breathing, that sweet slow sound of air moving in through his nose, catching there, then expelled just as slowly, perhaps catching again. It was a sound that always made her toes curl because she knew it meant he was aroused. Not that she needed that to know. . .
She’d caught a glimpse, in a slightly . . .southern region, but was distracted from any further observation because, suddenly, he was touching her. With tentative fingers, he brushed across a nipple, then moved to cup her gently. His eyes were still locked to hers, gauging her reaction, which was blissed and breathless.
Liz gasped again, brushed a fingertip down the front of her sweater, then shuddered.
Grabbing an extra pillow and hugging it to her, she lay back onto the bed.
He had knelt and begun to kiss her wherever he could reach. (Which was everywhere.) She felt a low vibration and a spreading warmth in every spot his lips touched and wondered absently if that were an alien-thing or just a >damn, he’s really good’ thing. She was cradling his head in both hands, her fingers buried in his sweet, soft hair, and feeling like she needed something else just now, she guided him up towards her face. His mouth was sweet and strong and his lips and tongue danced against hers. His hands were on her face now, holding her somehow closer still, holding her in that way he always did - that way that said she was very, very precious to him.
Liz’s tiny moan cut the silence of her bedroom. That she loved him, she knew. That she wanted him, she no longer had any doubt.
* * * * * *
He had pressed himself against her and then the two of them, in turn, against the wall of the shower. Skin to skin, she could feel him everywhere, feel everything, and she found herself moaning his name and willing him to continue, her hands gliding to the small of his back, and then, braver, lower, to his perfect, smooth --
"Oh-oh, God. . . "
Max shuddered deeply and fought to retain his grasp on the pillow he clutched to his chest. He wanted to. . . He wanted to, but somehow it seemed disrespectful of Liz. It was one thing to remember her fantasy, it was quite another to use it to. . .
Counting to ten, thinking of french vanilla ice cream and tabasco sauce, he tried to slow his breathing, and then, feeling the need to touch himself there subside, he continued.
He was moving against her now, though still merely holding her, and the pleasure she got from her nipples rubbing against his broad, smooth chest, sent shivers to the deepest part of her. She needed. . . ‘Oh, God’. . . She needed him. . . She needed that beautiful, beautiful. . . ‘Oh, God, she needed it’. . . She moved her hands back down to their former hold, pulled him sharply toward her, at the same time opening her le--
*Ri-i-i-ng!!! . . . Ri-i-i-ng!!! . . .*
The pillow spun across the room. Breathing heavily, Max listened to the phone ring a few more times before he’d pulled himself together enough to answer it.
"H-hello?" he breathed hoarsely, instantly guilty, feeling certain whoever the caller was, they’d know exactly what he’d been doing.
But the voice on the other end was equally as breathless.
"M-max?" Liz said. "Are you. . . are you busy right now?"
Max straightened his clothes (as if she could see him!) and made a vain attempt at nonchalance.
"No. . . uh, no I’m not. What are you doing?"
". . .um, nothing, really." But he suddenly knew it, he could hear it in her voice: she was lying. He knew it in the way that he knew all things about her. He knew every nuisance of her voice. She had no secrets from him. Not anymore, anyway.
He knew exactly what she had been doing because he had been doing the same thing.
And the thought of it made him. . .
Liz went on. "I’ve been trying to study, but. . . but I’m just not into it tonight. I’ve been. . . I’ve been thinking about our. . . our talk today. . ."
Max felt himself grinning. "In the girls’ locker room?"
There was a pause and Max knew she was nodding slowly. "Yeah. . . Is there. . . Is there somewhere we can go? I think we need to . . .talk some more. . . Don’t you?"
"Yes. Yes, we do." He took a deep breath. "We can meet at Michael’s. When?"
He thought he heard her whisper >now!’ under her breath before she answered, "How’s twenty minutes?"
"See you then." There was another pause, he could hear her breathing, then the line clicked off.
Max took a deep breath and tried to get a hold of himself.
There were two things going on here -- the need for information and the need for. . . need.
Again, he told himself that he would not use Liz.
In fact, he was sure of it. They would meet at Michael’s. And talk. That was all.
That was all. . .
* * * * * *
I’m just going over there to find some stuff out.
Yeah, right, Liz. Tell me another one. . .
Look, it didn’t matter. Whatever happened, they loved each other. It would be OK. Maybe she just needed to touch him again. And talk to him. Maybe that would be enough.
She brushed a finger across that spot on her neck and shivered. It felt different, somehow, and when she got up and looked in the mirror, it was different. Dark and bruisy and not at all normal.
What was it and what did it mean? Was it controlling how she and Max felt about each other? Was is some sort of alien human-computer virus -- hidden within the guise of love like the proverbial Trojan Horse? She just didn’t know.
All she knew was that her heart was shivering in her chest and her body felt like it was vibrating at a really high frequency, and if she didn’t see him soon, if she didn’t see him soon, she was just going to explode into a million little Liz pieces.
Maybe the thing on her neck was like a little signal, trying to tell her that she needed to be near him. Or maybe it had something to do with the visions. Was it time for the next. . . installment? Yeah, maybe she just needed another information fix.
Those beautiful, orgasmic visions of the cosmos had been followed by equally intense earth-bound images -- and intense feelings of fear and agony and desperation. These were Max’s people. They were trying to protect something that was precious to them. Was that thing Max?
Like Max, she not only saw what they saw, she felt what they felt. And that feeling, that need to protect, was so intense, so. . . so familiar, she knew it instantly. Because she felt the same way. She loved him. So did they. It made her feel even closer to him, like she was helping them by trying to protect him. Like they wanted her to. Like they had asked her to.
Maybe that was what really mattered. That she help him any way that she could.
Or maybe it really was that she’d met the one she was destined to be with for the rest of her life. And that was what really mattered.
Liz knew what her mother had begged of her, but also knew that if she knew just how they felt about each other, and everything that had happened that bound them together, she’d have no fears about her little girl at all. Didn’t a lot of married couples meet and fall in love when they were in high school. Couldn’t this be it? Didn’t that make it OK?
Liz laughed aloud. Somehow she doubted her mother would feel that way, but the cart was definitely before the horse here. Nothing had happened. Yet. . .
Then again, whatever resolve she might have, and after the things she’d been thinking just now, there was actually precious little of it, she knew the minute she saw Max’s face and felt his eyes on her, she, and it, would melt.
She trusted him. It would be all right. . .
And I moved
And his hands felt like ice exciting
As he laid me back just like an empty dress
And I moved
But a minute later he was weeping
His tears his only truth.
And I moved
But I moved towards him.
And I Moved, Pete Townsend, Empty Glass, 1980
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